The swan’s long wing feathers curved inward like talons, its gray-webbed feet almost touched the delicate skin of her belly, and its black-circled eye was as fierce as the gaze of a stallion. The sheer force of its flight toward her, caught on canvas, was astonishing, and this explained visually and psychologically the panic of the woman in the grass. The swan’s tail curled under it, a pelvic thrust, as if to further aid its impulsive slowing. You could feel that the bird had burst over those vague thickets only a moment before, that it had come upon the sleeping form suddenly, and just as suddenly had veered to land on it in a paroxysm of desire.” (Elizabeth Kostova, The Swan Thieves 36)
Sometimes the power and beauty of other people’s words makes me feel like a child stumbling over her first simple stories. For example, in the above passage Kostova paints a picture with words–a painting I see with my mind’s eye, yet a painting that does not really exist in this world. In this passage she also reveals the psychology of numerous characters: the women who lies in fear, the swan who hovers in power, and the observer of the painting (who readers already know is a psychologist dealing with a patient who tried to attack this painting). Every word Kostova chooses reveals something that will come to play later in her book, I’m sure. She had that power in The Historian and I sense that she will continue to amaze me throughout The Swan Thieves.
I can’t write like that.
But it’s not just published (paid) authors who intimidate me. I feel humbled daily by some of the amazing writing I read here in the blogosphere. Writing that makes me laugh, writing that makes me cry, writing that carries me away with the sheer beauty of words, writing that awes me with its honesty. Perhaps the honesty of some people’s writing is the most powerful thing for me; not that I am dishonest when I write (I try to be completely honest) but the way people can reveal so much in so few words is amazing to me.
This week I’ve noticed that many bloggers are beginning to recognize each other and acknowledging the blogs that add spice to their reading days. So, borrowing the idea from the talented Hilary Clark and her “Fan”tabulous Friday as well as the always hilarious and though-provoking words of Tori Nelson from “The Ramblings”, I want to recognize the words that I have admired the most recently. But more than that, I want to thank these writers for the honesty and beauty that they share through their writing.
- Just this morning, I found myself sobbing after reading the post “Remembering your happiness” by one of my favorite bloggers at Random Thoughts from Midlife. Christine seems to be facing many things that I am facing as well, but she does it with powerful insight that I appreciate.
- A. Hab, from “A. Hab’s View of the World” is one of the bravest writer’s I know. While facing the never-ending challenges of academia, writing a dissertation, and creating a life as a recently married woman, she writes honestly about issues that hit me close to home. A little over a week ago she wowed me with a discussion about the semantics of the word “gay” . In today’s post she reveals with utter honesty her feelings about competition and fears as she is thrust into the game.
- Finally, one of the bravest writer’s I have been reading this week is Kathryn McCullogh at Reinventing the Event Horizon. Each and every post she writes comes from the heart and reveals something powerful. She is about to embark on a journey into memoir that takes courage and strength as well as a powerful use of language. She has them all.
In a way, today I am feeling fearful of my own writing, but truly grateful for the community of writers that I enjoy–whether through books or blogs, letters or poems. Thank you all for the words.